Commemorated July 4 in the Orthodox Christian Menaion

From the Prologue

She was the mother of St Simeon of the Wonderful Mountain (see May 24th). Utterly consecrated in her soul, she had no thought of marriage. When her parents betrothed her to a young man, she planned to leave their home and retire from the world, but St John the Baptist appeared to her and counselled her to fulfill the desire of her parents and marry, which she did. From this marriage was born the great St Simeon, the ascetic of the Wonderful Mountain. She followed the practice of rising at midnight for prayer; she gave help to the needy with great compassion, visiting the poor and serving the sick. A year before her death, she saw a host of angels with candles in their hands, and learned from them the hour of her death. Learning this, Martha gave herself yet more fervently to prayer and good works. She entered peacefully into rest in 551, and was buried near the pillar of her son Simeon. She appeared a number of times after her death, to teach people and to heal the sick, and appeared in the following way to the superior of Simeon's community: after her funeral, the abbot kept the lamp burning on her grave, intending never to let it go out. But, after a certain time, the monks became lazy and the lamp went out. Then the superior was taken ill, and the saint appeared to him and said: 'Why are you not lighting the lamp on my grave? Know that the light of your candles is not needful to me, because God has made me worthy of His eternal, heavenly light, but it is needful for you. When you burn a light on my grave, you urge me to pray to the Lord for you.' From this it is clear that the goal of our veneration of the saints is to remind them, who are worthier than we, to pray to God for us and for our salvation.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK

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